Press Release – February 2020


Press Release

For immediate use

23 February 2020


A women’s rights group set up by members of the Scottish National Party has published its response to the consultation into the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill which aims allow people to change sex by self declaration.

The SNP Women’s Pledge, which opposes the changes, is headed by Dumbarton Councillor Caroline McAllister and counts Joanna Cherry MP, Joan McAlpine MSP and ex-Prison Governor, Rhona Hotchkiss among its members. 

The Women’s Pledge detailed submission opposes the bill’s proposal to ditch the current medical diagnosis and safeguarding required before people can change their legal sex.

Women’s Pledge say the move to self-declaration could lead to a rise in many more men who have not changed their bodies identifying as women, changing their birth certificates and gaining powerful privacy protections. This could put women’s safe spaces and services at risk  sends a damaging message to children and young people by conflating sex with damaging gender stereotypes.  

The submission points out the controversial change was not mandated in the SNP’s 2016 manifesto, which did not mention sex self ID. It also criticised the government’s claim it is following “international best practise” pointing out that this is not defined, very few countries have adopted self declaration, and the UK system is already fully compliant with European Court of Human Rights rulings .

As well as producing their submission, the group have also published simple instructions and guidelines into how its members and supporters can contribute to the consultation. These can be found on the group’s website at

Commenting, Women’s Pledge Convenor Cllr Caroline McAllister says, “We welcome this opportunity to contribute to the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act proposals which we oppose. We believe women and girls will be at increased risk of harm from predatory men who could take advantage of the complete lack of any checks to gain access to single sex spaces like women’s toilets, hospital wards, refuges, hostels and prisons.
“We also believe that the Government’s draft Equality Impact Assessment is deeply flawed in that it doesn’t take into account the effects on privacy, dignity and the rights of women to refuse consent to male-bodied people in their spaces or delivering intimate care. It also fails to produce any evidence that males who transition socially depart from male pattern offending.
“The Government has also failed to define terms. They conflate sex with gender and use terms like ‘acquired gender’ which are undefined and therefore meaningless. How can you change laws if you don’t properly define what terms mean under these laws?  
“In addition, the current gender recognition law is already compliant with human rights laws so these changes are not even needed.
“SNP Women’s Pledge have published easy-to-use instructions so that our members can have their say on the proposals. I’d suggest anyone who’s concerned about the Government’s plans should visit our website for full guidance on how to do this.”